People Mob Banks to Deposit and Exchange Spiked Currency
A day after banks were closed for business following Prime Minister Narendra's Modi's demonetising of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes on Tuesday night, aimed at curbing black money, millions of anxious people mobbed the banks across various cities. People began standing outside banks even before they opened and struggled to get lower denominations or new currency notes. Mainly because the cash crush caused lot of chaos and inconveniences to buy even simple daily essentials. Serpentine queues started forming near banks before 6am amid tight security that ensured that no law and order situation arises.“The rush was already there when I reached the bank,” Mukul, an executive at Axis Bank in Noida, told IANS, minutes after it opened at 8am. Many banks allowed people to enter only in groups. Bank officials stood outside distributing withdrawal or exchange forms to customers prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India.
Some banks also faced tremendous cash crunch. Although government had announced that people could exchange Rs 4,000 worth of spiked currency every day, most banks halved this amount so as to cater to all customers. Anil Wadhwani, an executive with a retail chain, after being in a queue outside a bank in Lajpat Nagar in Delhi for five long hours told IANS, “I had brought four 1,000 rupee notes but could only exchange Rs 2,000.”
Those drawing Rs 10,000 from their bank accounts were also asked to produce identity proof. Scenes of chaos were reported from almost everywhere, including Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Chandigarh. Many customers across India complained that some banks and ATMs ran out of cash stocks within hours. Innumerable households reported they had to scrounge for smaller notes and even coins to buy every dayc food items. People also crowded at post offices. For those lucky few who managed to get hold of the new 500 and 2,000 rupees notes, it was like a battle won. They couldn’t stop flaunting their new notes, only to realize later that they had to face fresh problems as they could not get them changed due to a virtual absence of Rs 100 and 50 and lower denomination notes in the markets. They had to buy things worth minimum Rs. 500.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “People might face problems initially but in the medium to long run they would definitely benefit from the move. It is only those with large amounts of undisclosed money who will have to face the consequences under existing laws.” The government has directed all banks to work for 12 hours on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and clear the rush of customers, and if needed, be open even next Sunday that is November 20.
(With inputs from IANS)
(Image Credit: Economic TImes)